It’s no secret that we need calories to fuel our body’s basic energy needs. Yet many of us find it difficult to take in the right amount—and the right kind—of fuel. No matter how many guidelines we’re given, we still crave what we know is bad for us. And in an era where sugary and fatty snacks are often within arm’s reach, resisting those cravings is becoming exceedingly difficult. So what’s an average consumer to do? Read on for some insight into why we behave the way we do around food, and what you can do to make eating healthier a little bit easier.
- One, 20-oz bottle of regular soda has about 16 teaspoons of sugar.
- Teens consume twice as much soda as they do milk.
- On an average day, 80% of youth consume a sugary drink.
- A single, 20-ounce bottle of regular soda has about 16 teaspoons of sugar.
- The average person consumes almost 100 pounds of sugar a year, with the single biggest source being sodas.
- The American Heart Association recommends that the maximum daily intake of added sugars be no more than 4.5 teaspoons for teens aged 12-19.
- Did you know, health costs of obesity in the United States are $147 billion annually?
Natural vs. Added Sugar
- Not all sugar is created equal. In fresh fruit, for example, sugar occurs naturally in the food along with valuable nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. So even though it has sugar, fruit remains an important part of a healthy diet.
- 100% fruit juice is also made up of natural sugars as well as nutrients and vitamins, but it doesn’t have the fiber found in fruit that helps you to feel full as well as control blood sugar. This is why only 4-6 ounces of 100% fruit juice is all we need per day to avoid too much sugar.
However, processed beverages with added sugar have lots of sugar and calories, but almost no nutrients. Regular soda, fruit drinks, sweetened teas, coffee drinks, energy drinks, sweetened milk or milk alternatives or any other beverage where sugar has been added are all considered sugary drinks.
How do you spot a sugary drink?
Read before you drink—every time. Before you open a bottle or pop a top take a second to read the nutritional facts panel. Find the amount of sugar in grams. If you see more 12 grams of sugar (for a 12 ounce drink), that’s a sugar-loaded beverage. Stop and rethink your drink.
The ingredients label is where you would find natural or added sugars. Ingredients are listed in order of the amount that the drink contains. Check the first three ingredients on the list and if they contain any of the common sugars (see list above) it generally has extra sugar added to the beverage.
Don’t buy into advertising that makes sugar-sweetened beverages seem healthier than they really are. Beverages like sweetened teas, sports drinks, and energy drinks try to look healthy, but they are loaded with sugar. Just look at the nutritional facts panel—the ingredients are right there in black and white, and they can’t be sugar coated.
Everybody knows salads are healthy, right? People who are on a diet often opt for entrée salads, whether they’re eating out or at home. But the truth is that a salad is not always your best calorie bet.
Consider: A chicken Caesar salad at Chili’s (loaded with salad dressing, croutons, cheese, and chicken) will set you back 1,010 calories and 76 grams of fat. On the other hand, a Chick-fil-A chargrilled chicken garden salad with fat-free honey mustard dressing has only 230 calories and 6 grams fat.
It’s the fixings that make the difference when it comes to salad calories. If you’re going to pile on the croutons, creamy dressing, cheese, bacon, avocado, mayonnaise-rich prepared salads (like coleslaw), meat, nuts, fried chicken strips, and wonton strips, you might as well order a double bacon cheeseburger and fries.
So what makes a diet-friendly salad? For a healthy salad, start with a variety of colorful veggies, fruits, beans, and mixed greens. When possible, opt for dark, leafy greens like arugula, spinach, and fresh herbs. (The darker the leaf, the more nutritional goodness it has.) Then, pile on grape tomatoes, shredded carrots, cabbage, broccoli, jicama, scallions, mushrooms, red bell peppers, roasted vegetables, or your other favorite vegetables.
For a filling entree salad, add small amounts of low-fat cheese or lean protein like grilled chicken, shrimp, or hard-cooked egg. Top off your salad with a small amount of avocado or chopped nuts to add some healthy fat. (Keep in mind that you need to control portions of healthful but high-calorie items like dried fruits, nuts, cheese, olives, and avocado).
But we’re not done yet: Salad dressing can spell disaster if you use too much of the wrong kind. For a lower-calorie salad, dress with a tablespoon or two of light vinaigrette or salsa, or a flavorful vinegar (like balsamic) along with a little heart-healthy olive oil. If you love creamy dressing, try diluting it with a little water or vinegar — or simply use less of it. A tried-and-true dieter’s trick is to order salad dressing on the side, then just dip the tines of your fork into the dressing before you grab each forkful of salad.
Follow these tips to create or order a delicious salad that is satisfying, low in calories, high in fiber, and full of nutrients. If you frequent a chain restaurant, check the web site to see which of their salads and salad dressings is healthier.
Cholesterol itself isn’t bad. It is just one of the many substances created and used by our bodies to keep us healthy. Some of the cholesterol we need is produced naturally (and can be affected by your family health history). while some of it comes from the food we eat
There are two types of cholesterol: “good” and “bad.” It’s important to understand the difference, and to know the levels of good and bad cholesterol in your blood. Too much of one type — or not enough of another — can put you at risk for coronary heart disease, heart attack or stroke.
Although cholesterol is necessary for our bodies, having too much can be risky. A high circulating cholesterol level may lead to damage to the inner linings of the arteries and can potentially pave the way for heart-related complications.
Cholesterol comes from two sources: your body and food. Yes, your body produces its own supply of cholesterol in your liver. You also consume cholesterol when you eat animal–based foods like meat, dairy, egg yolk, poultry and fish. Plants don’t produce cholesterol, so if you follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, the foods you consume won’t contribute to your cholesterol profile.
Your body, mainly your liver, produces 75 percent of your cholesterol; your small intestine also aids in both the creation and absorption of cholesterol. The average diet adds another 300 to 500 mg of cholesterol. This external cholesterol comes from animal and dairy products. But even if you eat food without cholesterol, the carbs, fats and proteins all break down eventually and release carbon, which your liver turns into cholesterol.
cholesterol made by the liver can’t dissolve in blood, so transport proteins carry it where it needs to go. These carriers are called lipoproteins, and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is one member of the lipoprotein family.
Acting like a microscopic bus fleet, lipoproteins pick up and carry loads of cholesterol through the blood. Each form of lipoprotein has different preferences for cholesterol, and behaves differently with the cholesterol it carries.
An LDL particle is a microscopic blob consisting of an outer rim of lipoprotein surrounding a cholesterol center. LDL is called low-density lipoprotein because LDL particles tend to be less dense than other kinds of cholesterol particles.
Eating Healthy is not depriving yourself of the foods you love your body needs the right vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to stay healthy.
Rather, it’s about feeling good, having more energy and keeping yourself as healthy as possible– all of which can be achieved by learning some nutrition basics and using them in a way that works for you. You can expand your range of healthy food choices and learn how to plan ahead to create and maintain a tasty, healthy diet.
A healthy diet means that you are eating:
-Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products: There are many reasons why vegetables and fruits may protect against cancer. As well as containing vitamins and minerals, which help keep the body healthy and strengthen our immune system, they are also good sources of substances like phytochemicals.
-Seafood, poultry, lean meats, eggs, beans, peas, seeds, and nuts , foods from this food group fall into 6 categories. Examples include:
- Lean meats – Beef, lamb, veal……
- Poultry – Chicken, turkey, duck…..
- Fish and seafood – Fish, prawns, crab, lobster, mussels, oysters, scallops, clams
- Eggs – Chicken eggs, duck eggs
- Nuts and seeds – Almonds, pine nuts, walnut, macadamia, hazelnut, cashew, peanut, nut spreads….
- Legumes/beans – All beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas, tofu.
-Limit foods high in Cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugars: Some of the cholesterol comes from food (dietary cholesterol), but your body makes the majority of blood cholesterol. If there is too much blood cholesterol, there’s a chance that cholesterol will build up or form plaque on the walls of the blood vessels and, in time, even clog them. If that should happen, plaque formation will narrow the blood vessels, which may increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Total cholesterol (TC) levels have a desirable, borderline, and high range.
Although your body needs sodium to function, too much sodium can be bad when you have chronic kidney disease (CKD)
-Trans fats: may be in foods like cakes, cookies, stick margarine, and fried foods. Trans fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Another name for trans fats is “partially hydrogenated oils.” Look for them on the ingredient list on food packages.
-Saturated fats – These fats come from animal products like cheese, fatty meats, whole milk, and butter. Saturated fats have a chemical makeup in which the carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen atoms. Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature.
-Refined grains – Food products with refined grains include white bread, noodles, white rice, and flour tortillas.
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It’s no secret that we need calories to fuel our body’s basic energy needs. Yet many of us find it difficult to take in the right amount—and the right kind—of fuel. No matter how many guidelines we’re given, we still crave what we know is bad for us. And in an era where sugary and …
What is a sugary drink (also known as a sugar-sweetened beverage)? It is a drink with added sugar or other sweeteners, which provides added calories and little to no nutritional value. One, 20-oz bottle of regular soda has about 16 teaspoons of sugar. Teens consume twice as much soda as they do milk. On an …
Everybody knows salads are healthy, right? People who are on a diet often opt for entrée salads, whether they’re eating out or at home. But the truth is that a salad is not always your best calorie bet. Consider: A chicken Caesar salad at Chili’s (loaded with salad dressing, croutons, cheese, and chicken) will set …
Cholesterol itself isn’t bad. It is just one of the many substances created and used by our bodies to keep us healthy. Some of the cholesterol we need is produced naturally (and can be affected by your family health history). while some of it comes from the food we eat There are two types of …
Eating Healthy is not depriving yourself of the foods you love your body needs the right vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to stay healthy. Rather, it’s about feeling good, having more energy and keeping yourself as healthy as possible– all of which can be achieved by learning some nutrition basics and using them in a …